Send to

Choose Destination
J Surg Educ. 2016 Sep-Oct;73(5):886-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 May 12.

The Cost of Getting Into Orthopedic Residency: Analysis of Applicant Demographics, Expenditures, and the Value of Away Rotations.

Author information

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rochester, Minnesota. Electronic address:
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rochester, Minnesota.
Department of Orthopedics, University of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa City, Iowa.
Department of Orthopedics, Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orthopedics, Orlando, Florida.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California.



Little is known about the demographics and expenditures of applicants attempting to match into the competitive field of orthopedic surgery. In attempt to better inform potential applicants, the purposes of this work are to (1) better understand the demographics of successfully matched applicants, (2) determine the monetary cost of applying, and (3) assess the value of away rotations for improving chances of a successful match.


Prospective comparative survey.


Mayo Clinic Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rochester, MN.


A week following the 2015 Orthopedic Surgery Residency Match, a survey was sent to 1,091. The survey focused on applicant demographics, number of programs applied to, cost of applying, and the value of away rotations.


A total of 408 applicants completed the survey (response rate = 37%). Of these, 312 (76%) matched and 96 (24%) did not match into a US Orthopedic Surgery Residency. Of the matched applicants, 300 (96%) were from US allopathic medical schools, 9 (3%) US Osteopathic Schools, and 3 (1%) were international graduates. Males comprised 84% of these applicants whereas 16% were female. The mean number of programs applied to was 71 (range: 20-140). On average, applicants were offered 16 interviews (range: 1-53) and they attended 11 (range: 0-12). Completing a rotation at a program increased an applicant׳s chances of matching into that program by a factor of 1.5 (60% vs 40%). Of the applicants who matched, most applicants matched to an orthopedic residency in the same region where the applicant attended medical school (58%). The average cost of the application was $1,664 (range: $100-$5,000) whereas the cost of interviews (travel, food, etc.) was $3,656 (range: $15-$20,000). Total expenditures ranged from $450 to $25,000 (mean = $5,415). Over 8% of matched applicants spent >$10,000.


Gaining acceptance into orthopedic surgery residency remains a very competitive process. Away rotations appear to correlate strongly with match status; however, the process remains quite expensive for applicants.


Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Professionalism; Systems-Based Practice; cost; medical students; orthopedic surgery; residency application

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center